I've picked up a Px4 of late that I think I'd like to try a few things on. In particular, I don't usually have a brand new gun to start fresh ideas with, but I think this one calls for a long term test of FrogLube. It appears that some people hate this lubricant, and others love it. The Px4 is a little unique in the way that its rotating barrel and overall tight tolerances suggest a different lubrication procedure compared to Glocks and other sorts of pistols. Since I've only been able to find a few people online who have reported on their Px4's and FrogLube, and all of them have been happy with it, and simultaneously none of them have provided details of how they worked with it, I'm going to try to keep a running tally of my experiences with FrogLube, with a special eye to testing its long term viability as a high reliability gun lube.
Why am I bothering with this? I'm generally happy with my other lubricants, which have been Hoppe's Elite Gun Oil with T3. Basically, I've become less and less comfortable with running heavy amounts of petrolium based products that are quite harsh to the body through my guns and on me. I live in a smallish environment, and I'm rather displeased with the ventilation opportunities that I have. Frankly, the bio-friendly nature of FrogLube is very appealing to me. Moreover, one of the most thorough evaluations of gun lubricants I have ever seen not only gives very high marks to FrogLube for its corrosion resistance, but also gave it very very good marks on lubricity. IMO, lubricity is more important in a gun lubricant to me than corrosion resistance.
All of this means that FrogLube is a terribly attractive option for me. However, online you will read a lot of stuff about how it locked up somebody's gun or how it didn't work well in cold weather, both of which are concerns of mine. In these cases, those people who claim that it locked up their gun either clearly didn't apply it correctly, or don't specify how they used it. Many people say that they followed the directions, but they didn't specify what they actually were following to a level of detail that I consider sufficient to really believe what they are saying. On the other hand, those who have done successful cold weather tests of FrogLube and the like have given a fairly detailed application procedure and they have not had any trouble whatsoever. This leads me to believe that the majority of cases of FrogLube problems are the result of not clearly using the lubricant correctly. Now, someone has said that it seems to take a Ph.D. to apply FrogLube. Fortunately, I'm in that business, so I'm not worried there. :-)
The evaluation of the gun lubricants above brings up a very interesting point about gun oil which I didn't know before, but which I am now following to good end with my guns: lubricants work best when they are wiped cleanly off the gun. That is, the best lubricity comes after all of the oil that can be wiped off with a rag has been wiped off. Almost everyone I've ever seen oiling a gun has done so by leaving a small film on the firearm afterwards. According to FrogLube and other places, this isn't actually going to work for anything except long term storage. In the case of FrogLube, this problem is exacerbated because the lubricant will actually gum up if you leave excess on the gun.
So the message is clear, if I want to use FrogLube, I need to actually use the stuff correctly. But it's more than that. The most credible complaint about the lubricant that I can see comes from an issue of the lubricant migrating into areas of the gun that you cannot access to wipe off. For me, this is of particular concern with the Px4, its firing pin channel, and the trigger mechanism. Not only can this happen if you apply too much FrogLube during the initial treatment, but while firing the gun, as it warms up, the lubricant will also show up on the gun and possibly migrate. At least, that's what some people say. Since I don't plan to do a complete disassembly of my gun, but just apply with a field strip, I'm going to have to be very very careful about migration issues. In fact, one of the main things I want to consider is migration issues with this long term test. I also want to see if starting out using FrogLube and nothing else on my firearm will make a difference.
I'm also interested in seeing what kind of wear on the gun I see compared to using normal lubrication. I've seen plenty of pictures of normal wear of Px4 Storms online, so now I'm going to compare those to my own experiences shooting the gun with FrogLube.
So here's my plan:
- Apply FrogLube according to manufacturer's instructions at a field stripped level
- Pay very careful attention to possible migration issues and make sure to keep the firing pin channel clear and the trigger mechanism absolutely clean
- Fire the gun in cold and hot weather and observe the feel of the gun and the overall smoothness of the gun
- Lubricate the gun according to Beretta's recommendations, but using the appropriate oil application procedures elucidated in the large scale evaluation linked above
- Observe the gun and look for signs of unintentional and unpreventable migration of FrogLube in dangerous amounts to the trigger mechanism and the firing pin channel.
My main goal in doing all this is to see if FrogLube does in fact work well as a lubricant, is easy to use, does in fact make my quality of life better with regards to chemicals and smell, and finally, possibly most importantly, does proper application of FrogLube and care enable the recommended Beretta maintenance schedule to be followed without any danger of malfunction or issues in all weather conditions? By the last I mean that the gun should be fully reliable in all conditions at a moments notice without special care and cleaning beyond what Beretta recommends and the proper use of FrogLube. I should not have to periodically "clean out the firing pin channel" or do any special disassembly in order to access parts of the gun which are not accessible during field stripping. For this to be a successful test of FrogLube, over time I should see no migration issues and no accumulation of FrogLube in any places that I don't want it to be there. I should be able to transition between hot and cold weather easily and reliably.
I hope to document this journey reasonably well. Let's see how it goes! My goal here is to document the entire procedure to enough extent that if I have problems, any FrogLube fanboys have absolutely zero room to speculate, and instead we know the precise problems, and if it works well, people have zero room to speculate about whether a future failure will occur, and they will be able to duplicate the results reliably on their end.